Read: November 2020

Inspiration: Book is referenced in Freakonomics and sounded interesting


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“Gang Leader for a Day”, published in 2008 by author, sociologist, and professor Sudhir Venkatesh, is based on Venkatesh’s research and experiences while studying a gang in the South Side of Chicago. Venkatesh spent several years living and working with the gang, and the book provides a unique and intimate look at the inner workings of the gang and the lives of its members. The book discusses the complex social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the existence and operations of gangs, and how they intersect with larger issues of race, poverty, and inequality. Through his research and interactions with the gang members, Venkatesh provides a nuanced and humanizing portrayal of a group that is often misunderstood and demonized.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago–projects poorly built with thousands of low income blacks (90% poverty), center of crack trade, people there all share with one another–community not projects, run by Black Kings with very coprorate type structure, 1990 peak crack epidemic and start arresting blacks or try to give jobs but not enough to draw away from prospects of drug money, Robert Taylor Homes just one of a couple hundred BK branches in city, JT rise in ranks and look to clean money thru politics and biz (can buy off alderman), cops and pastors help settle gang disputes off book, projects see selves as victims of things out of their control, get homes taken from them by city and called homeless, whites have all cops to projects and called crime infested, deal with violence and assault with militia of gang members b/c cops and ambulances not show up or take hours (and don’t trust cops to begin with), community runs on powerful leaders, bribes and violence b/c can’t rely on outsiders, women in Robert Taylor work together and share (70s/80s ran the place then men overpower), women coordinate apartment issues so one working AC, one hot water, one fridge working, etc, cops often raid gang parties or stop cars and take jewelry and cash (jealous of the money gangs make and also see as justified b/c money from killing and drugs), cops are viewed as a gang (extort and abuse projects with their power—many corrupt cops, don’t want to piss them off b/c they have power), prefer to not arrest gang leaders to know who’s in control, Clinton to Robert Taylor 1996 but then get demolished by CHA for middle class apartments (unlike what told, CHA corrupt and inept) so community dispersed around city

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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